Home Economy Fife Task Force oversees £4.8 million investment in firms in the region
Projects to boost the economy and resilience against redundancy have proved so successful that the Task Force has disbanded and handed over ongoing management and implementation to Fife Economy Partnership
More than £4.8 million has been invested in companies across Fife through the Scottish Investment Bank and Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) Grants in the last 18 months thanks, in part, to Fife Task Force which was set up in the wake of the Tullis Russell closure.
Business Gateway advisors – supported by Task Force funding – have worked with more than 100 companies to identify where there is growth potential, or opportunities to achieve savings or efficiencies.
More than 80% (571) of those affected by the papermaker’s liquidation have now secured a positive outcome, including employment, self-employment or training, with enhanced business support being delivered by Scottish Enterprise, Business Gateway Fife and Fife Council.
The Task Force, which was set up with a £6 million commitment from the Scottish Government to help boost economic growth and provide support to those affected by redundancy, continues to offer training and employment support to those affected by large-scale redundancies in central Fife.
It held its eighth meeting last month – co-chaired by Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Scottish Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, and Cllr David Ross, leader of Fife Council.
Cllr David Ross, leader of Fife Council, and co-chair of the Task Force, said: “Members of the Task Force have worked tirelessly to successfully support people, businesses and communities affected by job losses in central Fife into re-employment, self-employment or training.
“The success rate of 83% of those who have been made redundant having a positive outcome is good news – 571 people have been helped to find a job, start up a business or undertake training that will help them into work. That said, we know that there is still work to do and that people are still seeking support to get back into work, and this continues to be available through Opportunities Fife.”
A leadership programme for Fife SME business leaders has already seen nine participants complete the course and develop their ability to manage the organisation through times of change and uncertainty, as well as identify new opportunities. Two further intakes are planned to give more businesses the opportunity to benefit from the programme.
The regeneration of Queensway Industrial Estate in Glenrothes is also now underway, with the demolition of vacant buildings progressing to unlock employment opportunities and give the site a new lease of life. The Task Force is supporting this by helping electric underfloor heating specialist Flexel to relocate from Queensway to the former Velux site before the end of the year. This move will support expansion and safeguard jobs at Flexel.
Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, said: “Since we established the Fife Task Force some 18 months ago it has worked hard to ensure a positive outcome for those impacted by the closure of Tullis Russell. We made £6m available to support the delivery of the Task Force’s action plan to help mitigate the effects on individuals, communities and businesses.
“At our last meeting, we heard about the positive impact that the task force has had, including how 83% of those affected by the closure have been helped to find alternative employment or training and it has worked directly supporting businesses and communities to build resilience and growth. It is now time for the next stage of work and the Fife Economy Partnership will have the key role in overseeing that future action.”
Fife Task Force agreed a three-year action plan in May 2015 and projects to deliver this plan are now up and running. In light of the progress made to date, the Task Force agreed that no further meetings are needed and that oversight of ongoing implementation will be passed to the Fife Economy Partnership (FEP). The Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy will be updated on further progress by Fife Council’s leader and the FEP.
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